Gloria Ferris

one woman’s view from a place by the zoo in the city

Archive for the ‘national opinion’ Category

How Can We Work Together To Find Alternative Energy Sources?

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Last evening I was with a small group of neighbors working on a group project when our conversation turned to heating our homes this winter- the cost of doing that, what each of us are doing to achieve that, and alternative ways to do it without a large dependence on natural gas.

Our hostess had apologized for the coolness of her home, and since we had finished our original task we turned our attention to heating our homes.   She said that she had turned the heat on when she arrived home from work but the furnace was still catching up.  She then said she was  looking for alternative ways to heat her home.  Three stories is a lot of square footage to heat.  Of course, she said her third floor bedroom was quite toasty.  It was the public area on the first floor that was more problematic.

Interestly enough, none of us had turned on their heat yet.  We all said that we had been wearing bulky sweaters and vests, wool socks, and heating our homes with electric heaters.   We have had some pretty chilly nights, but all of us were stretching the time line to its limit.  We were all aware that this weekend might be the turning point. 

We all agreed that our relationship with normal gas suppliers was deteriorating daily. The news that the PUCO had agreed to allow them to increase delivery charges, when conservation is at its highest point ever,  does not bode well for natural gas prices this winter.  Additionally, the international news that Russia, Iran, and  Qatar are exploring the formation of a cartel much like OPEC for natural gas should concern us all.  Given the fact that the United States has a 3.5% reserve of the natural resource compared to the 60% the cartel would own  means that this commodity will only rise on the world markets just as oil did.  We will definitely not be controlling our destiny if we continue our dependency on natural gas.

One of our group mentioned Mr. Slim heat pumps good to 0 degrees Farenheit.  He said that the electricity is negligible to run the unit.  Right now, he personally uses two $120 electric heaters to heat his 900 square foot home.  He is looking for alternative sources for heating and cooling for his rental properties.  He believes that low energy bills will be a marketing point for getting and retaining good tenants.  We all agreed.

One of our friends installed a geothermal unit.  He said that it did his heart good when he finally received that first gas bill where they owed him.  So my questions are how do we leverage this discomfort with the old models of heating, how do we cut our dependence on natural gas, how do we continue to conserve energy, and how do we eventually get off the grid and form a new paradigm?  We need more instruction than layering of clothes.  HELP!!    

Written by Gloria Ferris

October 25th, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Stand Up And Be Counted–Enough is Enough

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Two months ago,  I saved this quote on my desktop.  At the time, I didn’t know why.  Now I know.  Events and comments made during this 2008 presidential campaign season have illuminated why we need to heed  these words by Harry S. Truman:

Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of  increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear. -Harry S. Truman, 33rd US president (1884-1972)

Our government is not there yet, but if we allow hate slogans, catcalling, intolerance and elected representatives  to question opposition as “unamerican” can we be far from that path? Opposition by all Americans to these types of intimidation needs to be strong and united.  If we silence dialogue, if we eschew diversity, how do we become the innovative economy and country we need to be?     My computer has just told me that the word unamerican does not exist. Is AI is more intelligent than humans?  By the way, I am not adding it to the dictionary.

Written by Gloria Ferris

October 24th, 2008 at 1:29 pm

FrankenFood Petition Arrives in Time for Halloween

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Below is an email that I received after I signed the petition to demand labeling of Gene-Altered Food. 

Dear  Friends,
I have just read and signed the petition: “Frankenfood? Demand Labeling of Gene-Altered Food!”.
Please take a moment to read about this important issue, and join me in signing the petition. It takes just 30 seconds, but can truly make a difference. We are trying to reach 10000 signatures – please sign here:
Once you have signed, you can help even more by asking your friends and family to sign as well.
Thank you! Gloria

Locally grown and locally produced food is one way that Tim and I avoid over processed and gene altered food.  I grew up in the country surrounded by farms and farmers.  My grandfather and his brother were dairy farmers.  My father kept his finger in the pie by buying equipment and working for farmers to supplement his income.  Believe me, as long as I can remember chemicals and genetics were a topic of conversation at the local feed mill, around the dinner table and after church.  The balancing act is only getting more tottery as the years pass.

All I know is that the local farmers I grew up were much closer to the overall environment than the agriculture conglomerates of today.  My father taught me how runoff from fields entered the water supply, how chemical dusting entered the atmosphere and settled downwind, how it was our responsibility to produce the best product possible so that we got the best prices for our wheat and corn and beef.  i wonder what drives agribusiness firms today. Are they as close to the interconnection of our ecology as the farmers of yesteryear or are they driven by return on investment?

Tim is fond of saying that fast food and processing have altered the stature and weight of younger generations.  In comparison to my generation, younger people have consumed more steroids, more antibiotics, more processed and more altered food in their lifetimes.  These alterations will probably become even more commonplace in the future.  Should we not know what we are consuming?  If genetically altering our food is an okay thing to do, why would there be resistance to labeling?  How difficult could it be to create an international symbol that could be stamped on such food?  If altered food is equal to unaltered food what is the problem?

If you believe in quality control of our food supply, take the 30 seconds to click thru and sign the petition.  

Written by Gloria Ferris

October 23rd, 2008 at 12:21 pm

Tennessee Contemplation of Pirates

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While in Tennessee visiting my granddaughter Teagan and her parents, one day, as I sipped my coffee, I began thinking about the global financial crisis which led me to financiers, stock brokers, and bankers. Suddenly, my mind wandered over to pirates.  At that time, my take was that pirates way back when had a code of ethics that prevented them from plundering certain countries-loyal to the crown and all that. Certain ports were protected. The pirate crews, often retreated to their own islands dividing their booty carousing and living the good life until they ran low on rum and other necessities. They, then.  took another foray out into the world.  Given the romantic notion that we now have of pirates, it is often thought that they did not take more than was necessary to keep themselves and their communities alive and well.

Fast forward to the pirates of today, and it is hard to see where the loyalties of these modern day pirates lie.  Basically, it seemed more like a feeding frenzy of sharks who had been given the hapless pirate who “walked the plank”.  Needless to say, I thought my early morning musings farfetched and fanciful so I parked them in the dark recesses of my mind doubting that they would see the light of day.  And then, today, I read this article from  the October 15, 2008 Science Daily which comments on the recent writings of Dr. Peter Hayes, Senior Lecturer on Politics at the University of Sunderland     

No longer so far-fetched.  But now, my mind wanders to dinosaurs, evolution, and how some species become extinct.  And, as I wander I wonder, is it time for these dinosaurs to die?  And if they die, what will evolve to take their place? 

Written by Gloria Ferris

October 15th, 2008 at 9:09 pm

The Nation Waits with Bated Breath–Is It a Loan or Is it a Bailout?

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Warren Buffett knows if you are going to take on great risk, be sure to negotiate a hard bargain and at least have the option to make millions.  I just received my latest edition of The Economist where I learned this. 

I haven’t seen anything on line about the $700 Billion Bailout of the banking industry.  Personally, I like the idea of loaning them the money.  You see, when they get behind on their loans because they haven’t the money to pay back the American taxpayer, we can have our servicing agent, the government, tell them that their “client” has informed them that they can no longer work with them and that they are in default.  We, the taxpayers, will then own the banks.  In other words, we can foreclose on them. Turnabout is fair play.

Why in the world would we the American Taxpayer give the money to the banks without getting something in return?  Shouldn’t we let the free market decide which banks would survive and which would become part of the collateral owned by the United States?  After all, I believe that is what U.S. Treasurer Hank Paulson recommended not so long ago when told that the housing bubble had burst and that the walls were crumbling down.

Of course, no one knew just how far the rolling stones would fall and now that retirement and pension funds, local and state governments will be affected by this debacle, something should be done.  But I ask you, why should we give them this money with no strings attached so that they can again “play the game” with no repercussions for the reckless way they played “the game” this time?

Could that be the problem with this whole scenario?  It wasn’t a game, it was people’s lives, it was people’s savings, it was America’s way of life.  It was only a game to those who saw only the numbers and never the faces behind those numbers.

I see no reason that we the American Taxpayer should bail out the financial industry without receiving something in return.  After all, according to the investment gurus, our world revolves on ROI (Return on Investment).  Maybe not so much.

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 29th, 2008 at 3:50 pm

Who Speaks for the Pig in all this folderol?

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I do.  Look we never asked to be the focal point of the 2008 General Election.  Who knew that the phrase “lipstick on a pig” would become the most important topic on the political scene with just six weeks left until the American Public vote for their next leader?

There hasn’t been this much to talk about in the barnyard since Orwell wrote that terrible book depicting us pigs as power-hungry despots. Actually, discourse among humans has decidedly deteriorated since that book was written.

We sure wish that the news media thought there was more to talk about than just us pigs.  Oh yes, we listen to  the news quite frequently.  No self-respecting farmer fails to have a radio in the barn.  They may be busy, but they keep informed.  So sad that politicians and news moguls think that the American voters are morons and would rather be entertained than informed.  Us pigs are quite concerned that we may have to take over barnyards all over the United States just as George Orwell predicted in Animal Farm.  Oh wait, somebody just told me that book was a satire.

Well, I’m not sure that pigs running things wouldn’t be a step up.  At least we already know that lipstick on a pig looks ridiculous and no self-respecting pig  would wear it.  People look down on us because we wallow in our own, well you-all-know-what.  I ask you what is different about what you humans are doing? 

I told my friend Suey the other day, well at least they aren’t talking about making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear or are you?


h/t to my friend Gloria who let me borrow her blog.


Patchouli Porker

Written by Gloria Ferris

September 14th, 2008 at 11:23 am

Do We Dare Hope?

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Lately, in news stories and on blogs I have read a lot of criticism about my generation–the boomers.  Some of it deserved. some of it written by journalists and bloggers who are obviously not boomers.  Even when we were younger, our parents’ generation called us the “me” generation so a lot of what is written is nothing new.  We have heard it time and time again throughout our lives.

We grew up in a time when thinking about “me” was possible.  it didn’t mean that we were not aware of what was going on all around us or that we didn’t care.  I graduated in 1968.  Graduation is a time when the whole world is right there in front of you ripe for the taking.  This is what was happening in my world and my friends’ worlds-The TET Offensive,  Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Bobby Kennedy’s assassination,  The Chicago 7, the looting and burning of our cities,  many of my friends, at 18, went to Vietnam. Yet, we dared to hope. We hoped that someone with the vision of MLK or RFK would step up and be able to right our world.

In 1970, things had gone from bad to worse.  The invasion of Cambodia began.  On May 4, Kent State experienced a tragedy that no college campus should have in their history, and ten days later on May 14, Jackson State experienced the very same tragedy.    Many of our friends who had been to Vietnam were now home telling us that the stories in the press didn’t tell the truth.  “If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem” cropped up everywhere on campus-sidewalks, walls, signs.  Nothing was safe.  The environmental phrase had ventured in to every aspect that we who could not vote were trying to change the only way we knew how by shouting, by writing, by standing up and refusing to believe what we were hearing and seeing were the only alternatives open to us.

In 1973, we were beginning our lives in the “real world”-the world of opportunity and work.  The fall of Saigon happened.  Soldiers coming home from Vietnam were met with contempt, disdain, and unemployment as if they were some how to blame for America’s plight.  College students were met with distrust and unemployment.  Everyone suffered from high prices, inflation, and the threat of unemployment.  Me,  a month before the school year started had no offers of employment.  Two weeks before the school bells rang,  I had three.

Today, the world is changing quickly.  What my cohorts and I experienced is the past.  We can do nothing about the past, but we can do something in the present.  Someone very close to me says that we are getting a second chance.  This time we need to get it right.  I believe that.  And I believe that as a boomer I have the chance to make things turn out differently this time.  Sometimes, we need to go through troubled times to understand what can be done differently.

As boomers, we have real choice in the coming election,  we can vote.   What we cannot afford to forget is what we experienced in 1968 when we did not have the right to vote.  This time the future is in our hands.  This time we can change the world.  I hope that we all have the nerve to look back, remember, and jump feet first into uncharted waters.  After all, what do we have if we don’t have hope.


Written by Gloria Ferris

September 1st, 2008 at 12:05 pm